Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Uli Meyer brings Ronald Searle's St Trinians to life.

Uli Meyer is one of the most talented 2D animators of his generation, and a huge admirer of the work of legendary British cartoonist Ronald Searle, creator of St Trinian's School and the Molesworth series.

Uli has been working for a while now on an animated adaptation of Searle's work, not an easy task given the complex, subtle drawing style and the challenge of bringing the eccentric characters to life in animation without losing their charm.

Uli Meyer
Fortunately, Searle loved the piece, pronouncing it the "best he'd seen". In keeping with the style of the original drawings, the whole project was executed completely by hand. The 25 second sequence was story boarded by Uli and by Matt Jones. Uli did the layouts based on the boards, and posed out the animation on 8s and 12s [ie he drew a pose approximately every 8-12 frames]. The final animation was completed by Sandro Cleuzo and Boris Hiestand.

Uli drew the backgrounds onto frosted cel, tracing each one five times, thereby giving the background environments a slight "boil". He then drew the character animation onto frosted cel with a mapping nib and black ink, trying to keep it as loose as possible whilst keeping the characters "on model" - ie accurately sticking to Ronald Searle's designs.

Scanned and compositing was done by Michael Schlingmann in After Effects. Michael figured out a  system of mixes to keep the multiple background drawings alive and in style with the lines of the animation drawings.

For sound design, Uli added a mix of existing music, "hoping the composers won't mind too much since this is not a commercial project".

We at FLIP are huge fans of Uli's work and of course of the work of Ronald Searle, and we would love to see St Trinian's come to the big screen!


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